Blackheads on the forehead are the small bumps (acne) that occur when skin pores (hair follicles) are filled with sebum and dead skin cells. Exposure to air causes the oxidation, turning the tip black.
• Blackheads are referred to as open comedones because the pore is not covered with skin – it’s open.
• Most understand the cause of the color is associated with poor skin care – that’s not completely true.
Active oil glands are responsible for the development of blackheads. Adolescents going through puberty deal with the condition daily. During these years, blackheads are predominant in what the beauty industry calls the T-zone – forehead, nose and chin. They appear on other parts of the body.
Attributed to the causes of blackheads on the forehead are natural chemical changes, personal hygiene and prescription medicines affecting the body’s hormonal balance. Puberty triggers hormones in male and female adolescents. As nature instigates chemical changes in the body, the appearance of blackheads increases as part of life’s maturing process.
• Buildup of acne bacteria on the skin
• Excessive oil production
• Irregular shedding of dead skin cells
• Birth control pills
• Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
• Cosmetics block pores
• Shaving opens the hair follicles
• Heavy sweating clogs pores
• Steroid based drugs – corticosteroids
Less than one in five adolescents experience acne. The statistics are about the same for scarring due to incorrect methods of extraction, or poor skin routines.
The color of blackheads makes them more noticeable even though they are flatter than pimples. Unlike pimples blackheads resist inflammation. Common symptoms of blackheads include:
• Enlarged pores
• Peeling skin
• Irritated skin
It’s tempting, and many do squeeze the blackheads. If the procedure is not done correctly you may permanently scar the skin. Professional services can help with the extraction and prevent scarring.
Using the wrong cleansing methods can aggravate the condition. Irritating the skin with abrasive scrubbing is an invitation for bacteria or skin infections. The result is inflamed skin. Over cleansing to reduce the excessive oil can have the opposite effect – the body responds to dry skin by increasing the oil production leading to more blackheads.
• There are cases where genetics play a role with blackheads.
• Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) is commonly caused by acne and occurs more frequently with dark skin.
A dermatologist is a medical expert on skin conditions. They diagnose and treat disorders of the skin, hair and nails. In treating blackheads, they use an instrument called a round loop extractor to remove the contents from a clogged pore.
For the best results, scheduled skin routines need to start before the condition worsens. Unfortunately, most wait until the skin has become infected or developed a serious skin issue needing to be treated by a specialist.
There may be underlying health issues contributing to conditions such as eczema or rosacea, making it difficult to treat blackheads. Left untreated or ignored the skin conditions and blackheads will worsen.
There are several alternatives for treating blackheads comprised of home remedies, over-the-counter (OTC) treatments, prescription medicines and therapies. The medical treatments administered by a dermatologist (doctor) and the beauty treatments performed by a cosmetologist will vary – both have benefits of treating blackheads.
• Retin-A with the proper dosage and scheduled routines can clear away blackhead.
• OTCs contain low levels of medicated ingredients for killing bacteria, controlling excess oil and shedding dead skin cells.
• Prescription medicines containing vitamin A can prevent clogging in the pores and eliminate the dead skin cells.
• Antibiotics containing benzoyl peroxide are effective for clearing blackheads.
• Microdermabrasion sands the skin to remove the clogs causing blackheads.
• Chemical peels remove clogs and get rid of the dead skin cells.
• Laser therapy decreases oil production below the skin’s surface treating blackheads without damaging the skin.
You can prevent blackheads without spending a lot of money. Skin is sensitive to chemicals, so be sure to follow the instructions and use the correct dosage. Here, more is not better.
• Wash your face in the morning and evening before going to bed. Two times a day helps to remove the build of oil and residuals from creams or make-up that can cause blackheads.
• Consider using oil free products or non-comedogenic makeup and lotions to reduce the clogging effect, lessening blackheads.
• Learn how to use an exfoliating product to remove the dead skin cells to reduce blackheads.
• Use fragrance free cleansing (scrubs) products.
• Get the required sleep – your body replenishes the nutrients needed for good health while you sleep.
• Reduce stress and you reduce the production of sebum.
There are many retail skin care products available ranging in prices and ingredient composition promising results. They don’t always work for sensitive, younger or older skin types with blackheads. Take the time to read the labels and if you have questions, talk with a skin care expert.
All medicines should be stored in an airtight container – at room temperature, away from heat, moisture and direct light. Left unmonitored even the simplest form can cause harm.
• Keep all medicines out of reach of children, elderly adults and animals.
• Discard outdated or unused portions properly.
1. Are blackheads contagious?
No, but they will spread if you don’t clean your skin regularly.
2. Do I need to see a doctor?
For minor conditions daily cleansing routines will help care for the problem. Inflammation of the skin is a problem. It can lead to serious health disorders. If the condition persists, see a doctor.
3. Will I get better results with professional or home treatment?
Depending on the severity of the conditions. Regular home care is effective when using the right products and techniques. Regular visits to the doctor or therapist can help with extractions and skin conditions.
4. What’s the best way to get rid of blackheads?
The best way to get rid of blackheads is to take care of yourself and learn more about your skin and how to treat blackheads.
5. Can blackheads be prevented?
Yes, by using approved salicylic acid, retinol creams and facial masks, you can control and manage the buildup of oil and eliminate the dead skin cells that cause blackheads.
6. Can past scars be healed?
It depends on the size of the scar. A skin specialist can explain the procedures that work best for your skin type and condition. There are methods of reducing the scar's appearance.
7. How common are blackheads?
Blackheads are more common than we think. The largest population segment are young females and males, followed by certain industry environments - workers are exposed to pollutants that cause the skin’s pores to clog.